‘Sometimes I won’t have a sale for days, but other times an item will go semi-viral and I’ll have over 40 open orders’
Zena West works as a board secretariat lead for the Civil Service and also runs online shops, via Etsy In our How I Manage My Money series we aim to find out how people in the UK are spending, saving and investing money to meet their costs and achieve their goals.
Zena West, 37, lives in Nottinghamshire with her husband, John, and their eight-year-old son. Zena works as a board secretariat lead for the Civil Service and also runs online shops, via Etsy, called West Art And Glass and Eden Walk Arts. Monthly budget
INCOME Net salary £2,070 (will be lower later this year when I reduce my hours); Profit from shops £420; Child Benefit £87.20 Total: £2,577.20 OUTGOINGS Most are split with my husband. My share is as follows:
Mortgage £499; Diesel for the car £52; Groceries £164; Broadband and streaming services £33.50; Council tax £114; Gas and electricity £77; Water £18; Cleaner £26; TV licence £7; Bank account fee £7; Euromillions £20; Postcode Lottery £10; Mobile phone £9; Beauty treatments £20; Work social and
sports clubs £9; Savings/investments £405; Including a Lifetime Isa, savings for my son, a general investment account and Premium Bonds; Getting my hair done and a family meal out £110; NFL Game Pass £13; Insurances £71; Pet food and insurance £60; Phone line rental £19 Total: £1,743.50 Until the age of four I lived in an expat community in Jakarta, Indonesia, as my father had a well-paid job as a computer programmer there. We had a maid, a driver and my sister and I had private tennis lessons. We eventually moved back to the UK and at the start of my GCSEs I was accepted at Benenden School, a boarding school in Kent.
After my first year there, my father had to give up work and I was granted a full bursary for the rest of my time at the school. My parents now live in a council house in east London. They didn’t save money when they were earning. Seeing them go from living on a six-figure salary to living on disability benefits has shaped my attitude about money management.
After leaving school I took on a number of temporary jobs in Nottingham. I dropped out of university after less than two weeks to run away and stay with my boyfriend, who is now my husband. Alongside my day job, I run West Art And Glass and Eden Walk Arts via Etsy. The income from both varies each month.
Sometimes I won’t have a sale for days, but other times an item will go semi-viral and I’ll have over 40 open orders. My last annual profit for both came in at £5,000. I always make sure I count all allowable expenses for my tax return. My side-hustles can’t become my main business until our mortgage is cleared, at the very earliest – I don’t know how people do this sort of thing full time without the security of a day job.
We are well off, but are still having to think about how we spend our money. I can’t imagine what someone on benefits or minimum wage will be thinking. I am a saver and a squirreller. I like to hide my money in multiple pots for a variety of possible rainy days. I worry, panic and fret when it comes to money. I overpay the mortgage each month – it’s my biggest money-saving endeavour. Our total repayment should be about £870 a month, but we pay £970, with me contributing £499.
I am obsessed with getting the mortgage paid off before I am 50, so we pay off as much as we are comfortably able to. I’ve a spreadsheet to track my credit card spending, another one for our joint account and another for additional savings. I also track the whole family’s available savings annually, and have a spreadsheet from which I can calculate interest savings from overpaying the mortgage. I have another spreadsheet to track all the monthly debt we have, so I can see the mortgage figure going down.
I often cook too much and save the leftovers for lunch. I also shop around for the best car insurance, gas and electricity deals every year. I enjoy a good haggle. Our last few second-hand cars have all been negotiated and I got £1,000 off my second kiln by asking a manufacturer if they […]
source How I Manage My Money: Civil servant, 37, on £2,000 a month who makes £420 extra with her Etsy ‘side hustle’